This step by step demonstration is taken from an article I wrote for the February 2012 issue of Leisure Painter entitled Watercolour and Gouache on Tinted Paper


Step by step demonstration  

The photograph shows the church and some adjacent cottages in the village of Yardley Hastings in Northamptonshire, a few miles from my home. This area is the tail-end of the Cotswolds and has many villages built in the lovely mellow, yellow Cotswold stone.

The centre of interest is clearly the church tower and adjoining cottage gable with the lychgate providing a second focus of interest.

The sun is coming from the right lighting up the face of the church tower and the gable end of the cottage on the left, with the cottage on the right in deep shadow, giving an attractive tonal pattern.

 I'll take you through the step-by-step process of producing a painting from this photograph. Why not paint along with me?

I used a 1 inch synthetic flat brush for all the washes, whether painted in gouache or watercolour, carefully rinsing it out between washes. A No. 12 synthetic round brush was used for smaller details, e.g. shadows on windows.


Step 1

The ink drawing, drawn with a sharpened matchstick dipped in waterproof Indian ink. It is drawn on Bockingford oatmeal tinted paper which was not stretched. Another advantage of using tinted paper is that the paper enhances the ink drawing, which I often frame and sell as it is.

The oatmeal tinted paper was chosen to represent the mellow, yellow Cotswold stone of the buildings and will be left as unpainted paper.


Step 2

Next I decided to paint the sky in gouache using a mix of cobalt blue, alizarin crimson and a touch of white to create a dense, velvety, opaque sky which you can see immediately sets off the grey stone buildings. Whilst I use ultramarine blue for Mediterranean skies as in figure 5, for English skies I prefer the softer cobalt blue.


Step 3

I then switched to pure watercolour and painted the red roofs with a mix of light red and cadmium red and the grass and foliage with Winsor blue (green shade) and cadmium yellow with a touch of light red to reduce the garishness of the green. Some patches of light red were dropped into the foreground grass wash while it was still wet to give a bit of variation. These colours appear muted in the finished painting because of the tinted base but this is an effect I like.

The chimneys were painted with pure light red watercolour.

The paths were painted with Indian red watercolour to which was added some white gouache. The sunlit highlights on the paths were the same mix but with more white gouache added.


Step 4 Finished Painting

At this stage I painted in the dramatic shadow pattern on the cottage on the right and the foreground grass and path using ultramarine blue watercolour with a touch of brown madder; I went on using the same mix to paint the shadow side of the cottage on the left, the shadow side of the church tower, and the raking shadow cast by the projecting nave of the church.

Using white gouache I painted the fence, the gate, the white hands of the clock against its dark blue face and the lead roof of the nave which looked white in the bright sunlight.

I restated the twigs of the tall tree by the lych-gate using a black felt tip pen. I used the same pen to indicate the shadows on the fencing.